You are an Asian. You are very sure of it. No one taught you this, and you can relate to other Asians even though you do not know why. And you feel confident with who you are. Then you go home, and strip off your clothes and stand naked in front of the mirror. You are not an Asian as you thought you are. That is what is happening to me every single day of my life. I do know I am a girl. But there is something that is not right at the mirror’s reflection. I lack certain qualities of a girl. And I know very well I am not a boy.
When I was a child, I did not know what sex or gender is. Like most any other kid, I had the license to explore; to roam around the house, touch objects I find fascinating at that time and feel the environment around me. I used all of my senses; from my eyes and ears to my nose right down to my feet as I learnt to stand and sit. Later, I learnt to run. I was growing, and soon the sense of realizing my existence came. But still, I was no boy or girl. I was a child. I could not care any less what I was wearing. In some of my baby photos, I can see the cartoon of Ultraman in front of my top. But, there was no gender.
I recall watching shows like Electric Company with the very much younger Morgan Freeman. I remember the episodes of Spider-Man inside. At that time I was already around five years old. At six, I attended the kindergarten. I was a proud child, always scoring A’s with a “star” the teachers always put on my result paper. I mixed well with every other child there is. The teachers love me. I was a very proud adorable child.
Then at the age of seven, my life was suddenly turned upside down. I questioned my mother, why I cannot go to the school with that gang I was comfortable with? Why am I squeezed into a school with a bunch of loud children? Why this and why that. I became shy and a recluse, but still I was able to adapt and scored some wonderful grades. I loved studying when I was a small kid. When I reached primary three, I was the joint top student for the entire primary. But by ten, my life took a turn into the worse, a horrible nightmare.
It started when I realize the bunch of kids I can relate to started to feel pain on their chest muscles. I did not. And their mothers told them it was normal. I thought I would feel the same pain, but I did not. Then in class, I was taught that there was this thing called BOY and GIRL. I remembered all these being taught to me before, but never in such detail. Then I realized immediately I am not wearing the same uniform as the bunch of kids I related to wore. In the middle of that year, I recall shame about my body every time there was the physical education class. I felt I really do not want people staring at me.
At the age of eleven, I was already the most abused student in my school. I hid in the toilet often when there were no other children around, because I feel very shy at peeing with what I know now as boys. And every time they find me, I was beaten up very badly. But the blame was on me as I was escorted to the discipline teacher’s office, and being branded a problem “boy”. How I despised that tag. Then later that year, something happened. My friend, a girl, told me she thought she was dying but her mom told her it was normal that she bleeds from between her thighs. I wonder why, but I was not bleeding.
At twelve, my mother told me that I should not make it a habit to squat when I pee, that only girls do that. I felt puzzled by that statement, and I asked my mother. She then told me that boys have that “thing” and girls do not have “it”. At that point I panicked. I felt like an alien. I attempted to remove that “thing” by trying to remove it using the drawer and the table, but did not succeed. Later, I realized my friends are growing things on their chests and I am not. For the first time in my life I felt abnormal. I am not the being they called, a “girl”.
I complained to my parents over my “boy” hybrid experiences and all I got was a trip to see the psychiatrist. It is a passing phase that will go by, he says. By then, rumours were all around school that I “masturbated” in class (It was actually another attempt at removing that”thing”), that I was gay (and got badly bruised and abused because of it). Every time I insisted I was a girl I got at best, ridiculed. At worst, I was dragged somewhere again to be beaten. By the time I was thirteen, friends (boys) that I had at primary 3 are now my bullies and enemies. Friends (girls) distanced themselves from me when they realized I was a “boy”.
I was alone in all this. My parents just did not understand me, but they did realize I am different. No one knows what to do with me, not even my school counselor. My grades suffered, even though I liked studying. I know I am a girl, but no one believed me. My mother and father soon were very mean towards me, probably because of my grades and the complaints they were getting from the school. It was amazing though. I was beaten up badly, but was singled out as the cause, that I disturbed the boys or trying to be funny with them. I tried to run away, but failed.
My childhood days were riddled with fear, pain and tears. There was no one to support me, no one to accept me, and everyone even my parents is telling me that I should be a “boy”. But I already knew that I am a girl. What is a boy? I cannot even begin to describe it. All I knew then was to be in my room listening to the radio, or watching the TV at the living room. I wanted to get away from the world. People were so mean. I felt tied up and strangled. I did not even understand what exactly people want from me, so I decided what I want. I just wanted to be who I really am. That was when I started looking at the mirror. I immediately knew what was wrong. I was abnormal. I looked like an ugly freak.
I want to be me. I desire to have an appearance of me. I need to get myself my real bodily being. And that was how I was born... again....